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New Bill Filed to Waive E-Wallet Fees For Small Transactions

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  • Cagayan de Oro 1st District Representative Lordan Suan proposes a bill, “Electronic Wallet and Electronic Fund Transfer Small Value Transaction Fee Waiver Act,” urging e-wallet and fund transfer providers in the Philippines to waive fees for small-value transactions.
  • The bill permits fee waivers up to ₱2,000, empowering the BSP to adjust transaction amounts based on economic factors and mandates fee transparency.
  • Suan emphasizes that eliminating fees for small transactions encourages financial inclusion and wider adoption of e-wallets, benefiting low-income individuals and fostering economic growth.

To encourage broader adoption and enhance financial inclusion, Cagayan de Oro 1st District Representative Lordan Suan has proposed that all e-wallet and electronic fund transfer service providers operating in the Philippines waive fees for small-value transactions.

What is the Electronic Wallet and Electronic Fund Transfer Small Value Transaction Fee Waiver Act

The proposed bill, “Electronic Wallet and Electronic Fund Transfer Small Value Transaction Fee Waiver Act,” aims to waive fees for activities like transferring money between e-wallets, depositing, withdrawing, and transferring funds from an e-wallet to a bank account.

According to the explanatory note, it defines small-value transactions as those involving P1,000 or less. Suan’s bill allows fee waivers for up to ₱2,000, with fees applicable beyond that limit. 

Moreover, the legislation also empowers the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to adjust transaction amounts based on economic factors and mandates transparency in disclosing all fees.

Accordingly, the bill also mandates transparency and disclosure of all fees and charges.

“(The bill) promotes financial inclusion by eliminating fees for small transactions in e-wallets and electronic fund transfers… E-wallets offer a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional banking. Waiving fees for small transactions will encourage wider adoption among low-income individuals, increasing financial inclusion and economic growth.”

Lordan Suan, Representative, 1st District, Cagayan de Oro

State of Online Payment in PH

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Consequently, the central bank observed in June that e-wallet payments in the Philippines surged, accounting for more than 40% of total retail transactions. Before this, then-BSP Governor Felipe Medalla expressed wanting the removal of transaction fees on small-value fund transfers to promote cashless or digital payments in the Philippines. He stressed highlighted concerns that the current ₱15 transaction fee might be too burdensome for small transactions, especially for individuals with lower incomes. 

According to a survey conducted by Rakuten Insight in October 2022, approximately 91 percent of respondents in the Philippines reported having made a transaction using an e-payment method. Further, in an another survey, as of February 2020, 49 percent of respondents made payments using an e-payment method multiple times per month. Additionally, 54 percent of respondents stated that transactions were faster using an e-payment method. 

Moreover, in 2022, in the Status of Digital Payments report of the BSP, it was noted that digital payments constituted a substantial portion of total retail payments in the Philippines, accounting for 42.1% in volume and 40.1% in value, reaching a total of 78 billion USD. The growth was primarily driven by person-to-business (P2B) merchant payments, making up 73.7% of total digital transactions. Person-to-person (P2P) payments and business-to-person (B2P) salary payments also contributed to this increase. 

Last year, the BSP collaborated with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) to introduce the “Bills Pay PH” initiative, aimed at advancing financial inclusion and digitalizing payments. This initiative facilitates digital transactions without service between accounts of various payment service providers (PSPs), providing consumers with more options for bill payments. The Bills Pay PH platform enables transactions with approximately 50 billers.

Further, in 2021, the central bank reported that the share of digital payments in total retail payments volume in the Philippines increased from 20.1% in 2020 to 30.3% in 2021.

This article is published on BitPinas: New Bill Filed to Waive E-Wallet Fees For Small Transactions

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